The Surprising Health Benefits of Pets

Woman feeding treat to white dog on organic pet bed

Ever noticed how a simple tail wag or a purring cuddle can brighten your day? The unconditional love and companionship between humans and pets is profound. 


Pet ownership is full of heartwarming moments, but it actually has a surprising impact on human health, too. That’s right, there are very real health benefits of pets! From boosting our physical fitness to nurturing our mental well-being, let's uncover the "pawsitive" effects our furry friends have on our lives.

Physical Health Benefits

Pet ownership has been linked to numerous physical health benefits for humans. One of the most notable health benefits of pets is the positive impact on cardiovascular health, as studies have shown that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rates, and cholesterol levels. 


The daily routine of caring for pets often involves physical activities such as walking, playing, or grooming, which can contribute to increased exercise and fitness levels. 


Additionally, the companionship provided by pets can reduce stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and regulate our nervous system, thereby promoting overall well-being and improved immune function. Owning and interacting with a pet has been found to decrease cortisol – the hormone associated with stress. This further supports the notion that pet ownership can contribute to improved physical health in humans.

Support for Neurodivergence

For individuals with neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD or autism, pets can play a transformative role. 


Structured routines like those involved in caring for a pet can help neurodivergent individuals with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in managing their daily lives more effectively. The consistent presence of an animal can offer a calming anchor, reducing anxiety and sensory overload. 


Moreover, the non-verbal communication and unconditional acceptance provided by pets can significantly enhance social interaction and emotional understanding for neurodivergent individuals, offering a supportive bridge to navigating a complex world.

Man petting catMan petting cat

Pets and Mental Health

Pet ownership has been recognized as a powerful contributor to improved mental health and wellness in humans. 


The bond between humans and their pets offers a unique form of companionship that fosters emotional well-being. Interactions with pets, such as playing, petting or simply being in their presence, can reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol and increasing oxytocin. 


Pets provide a sense of purpose and responsibility to humans, promoting structure and routine in daily life which can be especially beneficial for individuals struggling with depression or anxiety. 


The presence of pets in our lives serves as a source of joy, comfort and emotional support ultimately enhancing mental health and well-being.

Extra Benefits for Aging Adults

The benefits of pet ownership for aging adults extend far beyond mere companionship. From promoting physical health to enhancing emotional well-being, pets play a vital role in enriching the lives of seniors and fostering a sense of vitality and joy in their golden years. 


Whether it's a furry friend or a feathered companion, the bond that comes with pets can be particularly profound for seniors. Below are some of the key health benefits of pets for aging adults.

elderly woman feeding dog a treatelderly woman feeding dog a treat

Companionship

Pets provide constant companionship, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation often experienced by aging adults, especially those living alone. The consistent presence of a pet at home can bring comfort and joy, offering a sense of connection that is both fulfilling and reassuring. This companionship becomes a powerful antidote to the solitude that many seniors face, enhancing their quality of life through the simple, loving presence of their pet.

Increased Physical Activity

 Like we mentioned before, taking care of a pet often involves physical activities such as walking, playing or grooming. These activities encourage seniors to stay active and maintain mobility. Regular walks with a dog, for example, not only provide cardiovascular benefits but also improve strength and flexibility, crucial factors in the prevention of falls and the maintenance of independence in later years. (Not to mention that daily physical activity is great for sleep, too!)

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Sense of Responsibility

Caring for a pet instills a sense of responsibility and fulfillment in aging adults. This sense of duty gives them a reason to stay engaged and active, offering a daily routine and tasks to look forward to. The responsibilities associated with pet care – feeding, grooming and attending to the pet’s health – can significantly enhance a senior's sense of self-worth and competence.

Cognitive Stimulation

Engaging with pets through training, games or problem-solving activities can stimulate cognitive function and mental acuity in aging adults. This interaction encourages mental engagement, helping to keep their minds sharp and potentially staving off cognitive decline. The mental effort required to communicate with pets, understand their needs, and teach them new tricks can provide valuable cognitive stimulation for seniors.

Purposeful Living

Having a pet to care for gives aging adults a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, encouraging them to remain mentally and emotionally engaged. This purposeful living can be particularly important in combating feelings of uselessness or depression, common issues as people age. The responsibility and joy derived from pet ownership foster a positive outlook on life, contributing to overall well-being and satisfaction.

Return the Favor – with a Healthier Pet Bed!

Borzoi lying on organic pet bedBorzoi lying on organic pet bed

Just like humans, pets spend a significant portion of their lives resting, and the quality of their bedding directly impacts their health. 


Conventional pet beds can off-gas and release toxic VOCs and other harmful chemicals into your home’s air that you and your pet breathe. By opting for a pet bed designed to avoid toxic chemicals and questionable materials like polyurethane foam and flame retardants, you’re creating a safer home for you both.


Naturepedic’s Organic Pet Bed is GOTS certified organic and features a removable, washable cover. That means it’s gentler on their health and tougher on stains – a pet “paw”rent’s dream come true. 


Check out these other ways to protect your pet from harmful chemicals or help your dog sleep better on our blog! 

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